Letters for Pastors’ Wives

My sweet PW friend, Meredith R. Sheppard, has published a book that has brewing on her heart for years. The book is a series of letters to fellow pastors’ wives about what she wished she had known when she entered the ministry.

Her best quote was “pastors’ wives are the least trained of any professional,” and I so definitely agree with her.

The letters are frank and uplifting. You will be encouraged about your life and hopeful that you can survive it. Those of us who enjoy being a pastor’s wife want you to succeed. We want you to soar in your life and this book will one of many resources you will return to time and time again.

One more step

Several years ago, Cec, a friend of mine, announced she was going to do Robie Creek Run the next spring and wanted to know if anyone would train with her. For the uninitiated, Robie Creek Run is the hardest half-marathon in North America and people from all over the world come to li’l ole Boise, Idaho every April to participate. The run is eight miles uphill and 5.2 miles downhill in a narrow canyon. The weather is unpredictable so you might be running in mud, rain, snow, or dry stifling heat. Something you need to know: I’m not athletic, and if you’ll recheck you will see that I did not say “run Robie Creek” I said I was going to “do Robie Creek” which means I and my friend were going to walk the half-marathon. She had done it twice before.

I volunteered.

I told my hubby I was training for Robie Creek and he gave me the standard, “Uh-huh, that’s nice.” Every evening after work I walked, and every Saturday Cec and I met at the trailhead and walked, eventually working ourselves up to sixteen miles.

The week before the event it finally penetrated my honey’s mind that I was serious about this endeavor and he freaked. “Janice, honey, you’re not athletic. You can’t do this. It takes years to train. You’ll collapse on that trail.” There really wasn’t a counter argument to this because he was right. He was a jock in his day. He graduated from a small high school, and if you know about small schools, everyone participates in every sport. So he lettered in like five sports. I lettered in choir and orchestra. Like I said, he knew me.

I couldn’t counter because I was admiring my new water bottle holsters, and my new skort — that shorts/skirt thing that old women think is trendy — and double-tying my New Balance shoes because I knew that if they weren’t knotted, they’d come undone and then there would be trouble.

So he gave up and on Saturday, he and Gary, Cec’s husband, took us to the starting point and then went to catch the shuttle to the end to wait for us.

The gun went off and in ten seconds, only the walkers were left. It was a bright sunny day and we set off with enthusiasm. However, about four miles in, Cec got very ill. The aid car came by and picked her up, and I was on my own.

Mike and Gary were sitting close by when the aid car stopped. Seeing Cec step out, Cheetos went one way and Mike’s chair the other as he raced over to her. “Where’s Janice? Have they air lifted her to the hospital? I’ve got to get out of here!” Cec just stared at him, “Janice is fine, Mike. I’m the one who got sick. She’s still walking.”

So now there were three of them waiting for me. And the thing is…I knew I could finish. All I needed to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t let discouragement of how hot I was, how tired I was distract me. I knew if I kept going, I would finish the race.

And that, right there, is the key to ministry. You must keep going. There will be discouragement, heartbreaking times, times when you want so badly to just give up. But God has called us to finish the race, he has promised to walk with us, and at the end there will be glories never before seen.

Keep walking. Just like I did. And at four hours and thirty-six minutes I crossed the finish line. I was definitely not the fastest, I more trudged than walked, it didn’t matter. I finished the race. And so can you.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 

Politics and the church–our response

Politics and the church – our response

It’s election year. FYI: it’s Leap Year which is always election year – so important for politicians to have that extra day you know. 

And you can’t tell me that politics hasn’t affected, maybe even divided, your church. The media would have us believe that this election is the most divisive this country has ever seen. And while it is definitely polarizing, history reminds us of a few others such as President Lincoln’s fight to free slaves or President Roosevelt’s fight to bring in the New Deal. By everything I’ve read both of these, and probably many others, definitely brought out the fighting spirit of Americans, no matter if they were for or against the agendas. Since I wasn’t alive for either Lincoln’s or Roosevelt’s fights, I know this election has reached new heights in polarizing people than any I can remember.

It’s easy to assume that since the majority of the people attending your church have like faith that they will also have like political views. Reality says that is not so. Because the issues are close to our heart; we may find it horrifying that a Christian doesn’t believe as we do. Polls show that we find devout Christians on both sides of the political fence and, particularly, the issues facing us this year.

It shouldn’t be a surprise we can’t agree on politics when we consistently experience an inability to agree on any number of things in church like hymns vs scripture songs, traditional church vs home churches, democrats vs republicans vs libertarians …. Easy to see that “the consensus after an election is that 100% of Americans think 50% of Americans have lost their minds.”

Is there anything we can do? Should we avoid the topic like poison ivy?

Avoiding a hard subject is never the correct answer whether it’s drugs, sex, alcohol, or politics. It’s too easy to be sidelined into rancorous territory when talking specific candidates or political parties, so instead, concentrate on the issues. What does our Christianity demonstrate about us when seen through the lens of our stand on abortion, socialism, refugees, human trafficking, immigration, drugs, alcohol, and welfare?

Hopefully we’ll let these thoughts guide our interactions with others:

  • Let our comments be marked by the fruit of the spirit. When someone airs their frustration with the state of America and politics (and I’ve certainly been there) understand it is fear that holds them. Remind them of Proverbs 21:1 KJV – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water, or Jeremiah 29:7 NIV – Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” I too easily give up on prayer.
  • Demonstrating hatred towards the other side exposes the shallowness of our walk with Christ. If we truly believe God is in control, we will pray rather than rant on social media. We have the right to state our opinion; we just need remember to do it with grace.
  • Encourage others, (and yourself), by remembering that God has changed the heart of a nation before and can again. Politics and voting are vital to democracy, but in themselves do not change people’s hearts.

This year, cover our nation with prayer. And remember to vote.